The Fulmar is a mini-UAV that the Spanish subsidiary of Thales offers for maritime applications.

Thales said that its Fulmar mini-UAV system had been selected for service onboard six patrol craft being built for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) by a Malaysian shipyard. Although it has been field-tested by European coast guards and the EU’s Frontex agency, this is the first reported government sale of the system. The Fulmar was developed in Spain some years ago for commercial maritime applications, in similar fashion to the Boeing/Insitu Scan Eagle UAS with which it competes.

According to Thales, the Fulmar’s ability to take off and land while the host ship is in motion, was a key discriminator in its selection. The UAV is launched from a catapult and recovered into a net. It weighs 20 kg (44 pounds) and offers an eight-hour endurance, powered by a heavy fuel engine. It carries an EO/IR sensor that includes automatic detection and tracking, and is equipped with the standard maritime automatic identification system (AIS). It can float on water for up to 24 hours.

The MMEA will use the system for counter-piracy, anti-smuggling, fisheries policing and border surveillance missions, according to Thales. The company said that its employees in Malaysia will provide local training and support.


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